According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “An estimated 12.5% of children and adolescents aged 6–19 years (approximately 5.2 million) and 17% of adults aged 20–69 years (approximately 26 million) have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from excessive exposure to noise.”
A potential source of noise exposure that could affect your hearing is outdoor chores and yardwork. In this post, we review information on noise-induced hearing loss and how you can protect your hearing while doing yardwork.
About Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
As the name suggests, noise-induced hearing loss is hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noises.
Inside the inner ear is the cochlea, which is filled with fluid and lined with tiny hair cells called stereocilia. As soundwaves travel though the ears, they move the fluid, which stimulates the hair cells. The stereocilia convert the soundwaves into electrical energy, which travels to the brain via the auditory nerve to be interpreted as sound.
Whenever dangerously loud sounds pass through the ears, they can damage or destroy the stereocilia. Once damaged, the cells do not regenerate, and the result is permanent sensorineural hearing loss.
How to Protect Your Hearing During Yardwork
The tips below can help you avoid noise-induced hearing loss caused by yardwork.
Wear Hearing Protection
The best way you can protect your ears is to wear hearing protection, particularly when operating power tools like a lawn mower, weed whacker or leaf blower. You can purchase disposable earplugs from Solano Pharmacy in Concord, buy earmuffs from a sporting goods store or invest in custom-fit hearing protection from an audiologist at Valley Audiology.
Take Listening Breaks
Another way to protect your hearing is to take breaks when operating power tools. For example, you can mow your front yard, take a lunch break, then mow your back yard, or you can split up certain tasks over each day of the weekend, like mowing Saturday and weed whacking Sunday.
Switch to Electric
Electric power tools emit lower sound levels than gas ones. When the time comes to upgrade one of your power tools, consider switching to electric.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call Valley Audiology today.